On Sunday, September 22nd the East Bay Barefoot Hikers met for a barefoot hike along the Bollinger Canyon, Las Trampas Ridge and Trapline trails.
From the Corduroy Hills to Devil's Hole, Las Trampas has 3,638 acres of mostly undeveloped land, ideal for hikers and horseback riders. It is home to a great variety of wildlife, including mountain lions and golden eagles. Las Trampas Ridge is east of Bollinger Creek. West of the creek is Rocky Ridge, with its unusual stone outcroppings beautifully sculptured by wind and painted by lichen. Views from Las Trampas' heights are spectacular in every direction. At Las Trampas' northeast end, the Corduroy Hills are a series of deep and densely wooded canyons leading down toward Danville and Alamo. Stands of black oak add color in the fall.
Eight people took part including myself, my son Gareth (12), Fred, Peter and his wife Sandy, and Debra. Maggie and Darren tried to join us, but were delayed due to taking a wrong turn. They hiked following our footprints but eventually lost the trail.
We met in the parking lot at around 9am. A friendly park ranger asked us about the bare feet. We gave her all the usual spiel.
We set off along the broad packed dirt trail leading up the Bollinger valley. The silence was palpable. We had the park to ourselves and stopped to listen. Not a sound. The way the valley is positioned, it must shut out all background traffic noise from the freeway several miles away. Sandy wanted to make a cell-phone call but was unable to do so until we got right to the top of the ridge.
It was quite a climb up to that ridge but it was worth it !!. Mount Diablo came into view and we cound now hear the hum of freeway-traffic below us in the San Ramon valley. The ridge trail was one of the most pleasant I've ever walked, with steep drops on either side and landscapes that looked as if they had materialized out of one of those chinese paintings with the hills that go almost straight up and down. The trail surface was mostly nice deep soft dust, with a mixture of broken-up leaves in the shady areas. This is surprising, since trails on ridges usually tend to be more eroded and rocky.
Sandy is quite the world traveler and gave us accounts of her on-the-cheap travel experiences in exotic locales. When she mentioned Japan, Gareth perked right up and talked with Sandy for the next twenty minutes. He met some Japanese kids from his last dance convention and is very interested in things Japanese right now.
The pace was fairly fast on this hike (all experienced barefoot hikers) and we swept along with Debra in the lead.
We stopped and had a nice lunch-break whilst continuing to admire the view. The downhill trail was kind of tough in places (hard lumpy dried mud), but we very much enjoyed the series of woodland glades we passed through.
Back at the cars, we found a note from Darren and Maggie on the windshield.
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